After visiting 30 countries, I consider myself a seasoned traveler. I’m not the best traveler in the world (yet) but I’ve picked up little tips and secrets along the way that worked for me time and time again and might work for you too. I decided to make a little list (only 16, to maybe over a hundred practical travel tips out there) of my best travel advice. Feel free to add/share your travel tips on the comment section so we can all perfect the art of traveling. Here we go…
I.) BE NICE. You’d be surprised at what other people are willing to do to accommodate you if you’re nice and pleasant to them
II.) ALWAYS HAVE CASH ON YOU. It’s the most reliable thing in this world, and make sure you also have a stash somewhere safe for emergency. (I should really practice what I preach).
III.) WEAR NICE CLOTHES ON THE AIRPLANE. I know sneakers and maybe loose pants are comfy but if you put a little effort, people are nicer to you or at least upgrade you.
IV.) LEARN TO WASH CLOTHES IN THE SINK. Hey, if Gwyneth Palthrow can do it, so can you.
V.) PACK FLIP FLOPS OR THONGS FOR USE IN SHOWERS. Even when I’m at home I never want my feet to touch the shower floor. That’s just gross.
VI.) ROLL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN PACKING. I was a rebel and didn’t believe in the rolling magic until recently. Trust me, you’ll fit more shopping if you do so.
VII.) ALWAYS PACK BABY WIPES. Or face wipes if you want to pay extra dollar. It does the same shit. It’s a lifesaver especially when you have no access to a shower or you want to freshen up on the go.
VIII.) LEARN HOW TO PACK LIGHT. I still struggle to this day but do bring clothes that you can mix and match, are lightweight, and that you can layer on. Make sure to create a checklist while you’re at it.
VIX.) BE READY TO SLEEP ANYWHERE. I’m kind of lucky that I can fall asleep anywhere, but the downside is, it’s not safe when you’re traveling alone. Still, be prepared when you end up sleeping somewhere that is not so decent. You need sleep, people are grumpy when they don’t have enough sleep. Sleep is so effing underrated. Make sure to bring eye masks or ear plugs or any items/devices that can help you sleep.
X.) REGISTER YOUR TRAVEL DETAILS. For Aussie travellers, there is SMARTTRAVELLER.GOV.AU. If you’re traveling to multiple places, it can be tiresome to fill this up but if something bad happens to you overseas, you’ll make it easier for the government to reach you if they know where you are. Simple. (Also, make sure you tell your parents, next of kin or close friends where you’re going, unless you purposely want to get away from them, still register anyway. Okay?)
XI.) PACK A MEDICINE KIT. I have a weak stomach, and it doesn’t help that I’ll eat all sorts of food, so aside from carrying paracetamol packs, I always have attapulgite tablets. A medicine kit will not take up a lot of space, but will save you from having headaches when you’re always on the go.
XII.) KEEP SOME EMPTY PLASTIC BAGS. For wet or dirty clothes. You wouldn’t want to contaminate your clean ones.
XIII.) LEARN A FEW PHRASES OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE. It kinda shows the local people that you’re putting in some effort to get to know them. Also gives them a sense of pride when they hear a foreigner trying to speak their language. Winning.
XIV.) ACTUALLY DO SOME RESEARCH. From taxi fares, to local customs, to weather, to scams, to what the local people are like in general. Knowledge is power.
XV.) BE PREPARED. For the unexpected. This does not apply to traveling alone, but life in general. Expectations versus reality. What looks good on paper doesn’t always translate in real life (dodgy hotel booking sites I’m looking at you). Sometimes flights get canceled or your transport didn’t make it on time. Lost luggage. Shit happens, but how you deal with it, is the most important thing.
XVI.) BE GRATEFUL. Not everyone gets to travel or has the means to travel and explore. So take time to reflect, take lots of pictures, take it all in, pause, and understand the immensity of our world. Understand your insignificance and understand your absolute importance.